It was part of the Washington Nationals’ plan to push Max Scherzer’s pitch count deeper than usual on Wednesday.
The Atlanta Braves’ plate discipline and timely hitting in the seventh inning wasn’t in the script.
Dansby Swanson smacked a bases-loaded, go-ahead two-run single off Scherzer, Matt Kemp hit a grand slam two batters later and Atlanta beat Washington 8-2.
Atlanta scored six runs in the seventh, and five were charged to Scherzer (14-6), who walked the bases loaded and remained in the game despite having thrown 114 pitches. Swanson then hit a 1-0 pitch to left to make it 4-2.
“We were just able to string good at-bats together,” Swanson said. “Good pitchers like that, it’s hard to be able to do that. It kind of gets magnified when you are able to do it.”
The Nationals intentionally walked Freddie Freeman before manager Dusty Baker went to the bullpen. Kemp then drilled Brandon Kintzler’s first offering to left for his seventh career grand slam and first since 2011.
Scherzer finished with 116 pitches, his most since July 7.
“With an extra day coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to try to get me into the 110, 115, 120 pitch count range tonight,” Scherzer said. “I thought that would benefit me going forward and then looking into the postseason, pitch with…